From: Tokyo (Toyoda) To: Panama August 2, 1941 J-19 #63
If possible, I would like you to telegraph me concerning the transit of the canal by English and American merchant ships.
ARMY 23506 Trans. 10-15-41 (S)
From: Panama (Akiyama) To: Tokyo August 18, 1941 J-19 #120
Report on observations:
1. Ships moving through the Panama Canal toward the Atlantic:
August 15th Four U. S. submarines (number------) " 16th Two " freighters " 17th One " " One ----- " 2. Moving toward Pacific: August 15th One U. S. freighter One DeGaullist Government destroyer (Triumphant) (now anchored at Balboa) 3. August 17th One U. S. destroyer anchored at Balboa One warship which appeared to be a cruiser was seen to arrive.
Recently five large-size destroyers have been in port (taking on fuel, rations and other supplies).
ARMY 22813 Trans. 9-29-41 (S)
From: Panama (Akiyama) To: Tokyo August 18, 1941 J-19 (Urgent) #121
1. The Douglas B-18, the Martin B-17A bombers, totaling 100 planes, as well as a number of heavy Boeing 24's, which have been stationed at Albrook Field in the past, completely disappeared about two weeks ago. I am attempting to find out where they went.
2. I have heard that approximately (35 or 45 ?) two-motored bombing planes are stationed at the newly constructed Agua Dulce Air Field in the province of Cocli.
ARMY 22855 Trans. 9/30/41 (S)
From: Panama (Akiyama) To: Tokyo August 20, 1941 J-19 #123
1. Please refer to (?) of my message #120 [a]. The Triomphant left Balboa for Tohita on the 17th according to report.
2. On the 19th two United States freighters and 1 British freighter were observed to transmit the Canal toward the Pacific.
ARMY #23342 Trans. 10/11/41 (2) See S.I.S. #22813. Panama reports movements of ships through the Panama Canal.
From: Panama (Akiyama) To: Tokyo September 22, 1941 J-19 #173
Ships passing through the Canal between the 17th and 21st are as follows:
1. Pacific bound: 1. American Tanker 4. American-Freighters 2. Atlantic bound: 2 American Tankers 4 American Freighters 1 English Freighter ARMY #22954 Trans. 10/2/41 (J)
From: Buenos Aires To: Panama 23 September 1941 J 19 Circular #146 Buenos Aires to Tokyo #416.
Strictly secret; C. O. R.
When Minister Yamagata* was in Panama he was asked by the Italian Minister there to deliver some maps and charts of the Panama
Canal Zone for him, which he did. Since then, we had Usui go to Chile to take charge of those maps and upon their arrival here they were delivered to the Italian Ambassador. At the same time, we requested that we be given copies of them.
Recently, these copies were delivered to us. (At the time of this delivery, Assistant Attache Kameda and Usua were present to ascertain that they were exact copies of the originals). And we entrusted them to our Navy's courier Tatuma who is returning home on the Buenos Aires Maru.
The Italian Ambassador here requests that upon the arrival of these papers in Tokyo, we notify the Italian Government to that effect through (our Embassy in Rome?)
Minister Yamagata has already advised Chief of Bureau Terasaki regarding this matter. The Navy has also sent a report.
23814 JD-1: 5970 (D) Navy Trans. 10-22-41 (X) *Minister to Chile.
From: Panama (Akiyama) To: Washington September 30, 1941 J 19 #51
(Message to Tokyo #188.)
On the (29th?) two (French ?) warships left port bound for the Pacific. One vessel of the Omaha class left port on the night of - - - - - for an unknown destination. In spite of the rumor that the raider is in the neighborhood of the Galapagos, rumors are circulating that it is in water adjacent to the Canal.
Relayed to Washington.
ARMY 23304 Trans. 10/10/41 (X)
From: Panama (Akiyama) To: Tokyo October 2, 1941 J-19 #190 (2 parts complete)
1. Since the recent shift in military aviation efforts to the Pacific Area the "Panama Air Depot" located at France Field was transferred to Curunda Heights (immediately adjacent to Albrook Field).
2. Rear Admiral SADLER, Commander of the 15th Naval District, since the extensive activities on the Pacific end of the Canal, made public on the 1st a statement to the effect that because of the increase of naval supplies a four-story warehouse built on pier 18 (it will be completed the middle of November), the ammunition unloading pier (west of pier 18) consisting of 32 buildings, and the existing buildings in the neighborhood of the Balboa dry dock would all be taken over as warehouses. Furthermore, the petroleum supply tanks at Boca on the Pacific side and at Mt. Hope (the railroad junction from which the line branches to Colon and Ft. Randolph) on the
Atlantic side (recently it is believed that these tanks have been camouflaged) have been taken over.
3. There are intelligences at hand concerning the construction of a food storage depot at Corozal which would contain sufficient foodstuffs to supply the Canal Zone for a six-month period, even though shipping routes between this point and the United States are severed.
ARMY 23699 Trans. 10-20-41 (2)
From: Panama (Akiyama) To: Tokyo October 2, 1941 J-19 (Priority) #191
Between the 30th and the 2nd, three American freighters and one English hospital ship transited the canal to the Pacific, and nine American freighters and one American liner transited the canal to the Atlantic.
ARMY 23668 Trans. 10/18/41 (2)
From: Panama (Akiyama) To: Tokyo October 4, 1941 (J 19-K 9) (Urgent) #194
Re my message #193 [a].
One vessel left for the Pacific at 11:00 A. M. on the 3rd.
From the 3rd until the morning of the 4th three American freighters and one French steamer moved out into the Pacific. During the same interval, seven American freighters, the "Union tanker", one destroyer and two British freighters went through the Canal in the direction of the Atlantic (one of the two British freighters was of the 10,000 ton class). All of the vessels bound for the Atlantic went through the Canal successively. The two cruisers which I mentioned in my caption message accompanied these vessels as far as Balboa. Therefore, it would seem indicated that their entire cargoes were made up of military supplies.
Relayed to Washington.
ARMY 23664 Trans. 10/18/41 (2) [a] Not available.
From: Panama (Akiyama) To: Tokyo October 6, 1941 J-19 #194
The result of my investigations, as I reported in my secret letter #142 [a] are as follows:
1. The airplane bases which the United States is constructing are located at La Chorrera in Panama province, (please refer to part 4
of my #149 [a]) Chitre in Herrera province, Mensabe [b] in Los Santos province and at Remidios and Las Ra-Hasu in Chiriqui province
2. The Panamanian airports already constructed which will be converted into military establishments are the ones at David in Chiriqui province and Paidonya [b] outside the limits of Panama City.
3. Airports which have been surveyed but because of the poor condition of the terrain have not been constructed, are the airports at Guarare in Los Santos province and at eight other projected points.
ARMY 24465 Trans. 11/7/41 (2) [a] Not available. [b] Kana spelling.
From: Panama (Akiyama) To: Tokyo October 18, 1941 J-19 #220 (Part 1 of 2)
1. Ship movements from the 14th to the 18th:
Moving toward the Pacific: 4 American, 1 British freighters; 2 American tankers.
Moving toward the Atlantic: 4 American, 2 British, 1 Dutch freighters; 1 American tanker, 1 American passenger steamer. Recently ships have been going through the canal at night.
2. In order to find out the plans of the Canal command, I inspected the military establishment at the Pacific end on the 10th. (Naturally they do not allow us to inspect the forts.) I found that construction is going on at a rapid rate and the whole area is being covered with fortifications. Specifically, at Albrook Field, 3 large hangars, storehouses for airplane parts, underground tanks, and 8 barracks to accommodate 200 men each.
At Corozal, 4 two-hundred-men barracks, 55 two-family officer's quarters and a 500-patient hospital are nearing completion.
ARMY 23909 Trans. 10-23-41 (2)
From: Panama (Akiyama) To: Tokyo October 18, 1941 J-19 #220 (Part 2 of 2)
At Fort Clayton there are stationed, as before, the 2nd Field Artillery Battalion, the 1st Engineers, and the 33rd Infantry. Besides barracks for the (signal ?) unit attached to these groups, 18 or (48 ?) barracks large enough to accommodate 250 persons each are approaching completion. In addition to the recently completed hangars at Howard Field, barracks for 26 companies have been roughly completed at Fort Kobbe. Some of these are already in use (details will be sent (by mail ?). In the Canal Zone there are between the two oceans three cruisers, 8 new type destroyers, 18 submarines, one gunboat, and one submarine tender. The construction work of the submarine base at Balboa is progressing. According to information com-
ing from - - - - -, 16-inch guns have been emplaced on Pearl Islands, and some of the warships of (this country ?) are patrolling the waters around them.
ARMY 23910 Trans. 10/24/41 (2)
From: Panama (Akiyama) To: Tokyo October 28, 1941 J-19 #232
1. On the 27th, a warship of the Omaha class left this port for the Pacific.
2. On the same day, two single-funnel destroyers, one light cruiser, and one 10,000 ton class transport were anchored in Balboa harbor.
3. On the 26th, one American destroyer and two submarines were anchored in the harbor at Cristobal.
4. From the 22nd until the 27th, four American and four British merchant vessels passed through the Canal bound for the Pacific (one of the British vessels was of the 14,000 ton class). Six American merchant vessels, one American tanker, and one Netherlands cargo ship passed through the Canal in the direction of the Atlantic.
ARMY 24995 Trans. 11/19/41 (2)
From: Panama (Akiyama) To: Tokyo November 4, 1941 J-19 #241
1. On the 3rd, one American destroyer was seen to pass through the Canal in the direction of the Atlantic. On the same day, an American warship (which did not seem to be the Zane), having two funnels on her fore deck and airplane equipment on her after deck, of 2,000 or 3,000 tons, was seen to pass through the Canal going in the same direction.
2. From the 2nd to the 4th of this month, nine American freighters and one tanker passed through the Canal heading in the direction of the Pacific. Five American Freighters and one American passenger vessel as well as one Danish ship were observed passing through the Canal heading in the direction of the Atlantic.
ARMY 24749 Trans. 11/14/41 (2)
From: Panama (Akiyama) To: Tokyo November 1941 J-19 #246
1. According to news from an Italian source, it is reported as follows: Fifty army air officers of Italian origin who had been training
at Riohato departed for China during the end of October. It is thought that they were sent to China as they are of Italian blood and would not be suitable for Europe.
2. Report on ships passing through Panama.
November 2nd, an army transport of over 6,000 tons, with capacity load of army men, headed for Pacific.
3. November 4th, two cruisers of Omaha type anchored at Balboa.
4. Ships that passed during 4th and 5th towards Pacific, one U. S. freighter, one British freighter, 1,400 tons. From Pacific, three U. S. freighters, one U. S. tanker, one British freighter, 20,000 tons.
JD-1: 6745 (Y) Navy Trans. 11-24-41 (7) 25228
From: Panama (Akiyama) To: Tokyo November 10, 1941 J-19 #265
1. The warship mentioned in my #262 [a] is not of the Vanoc class but has been confirmed to be the Diomede. Its destination is the Pacific.
2. On the 10th two American submarines moved through the Canal into the Pacific.
ARMY 24989 Trans. 11/19/41 (2) [a] Available in code under study.
From: Panama (Akiyama) To: Tokyo 11 November 1941 (J 19) #273
Ships passed through Panama on 11th and 12th.
To Pacific: Freighters: 1 American, 2 British, (one 10,000 ton with tower looked like warship).
Atlantic: Freighters: 3 American, 3 British, (One with guns, two with 1 gun.)
JD-1: 6748 (Y) Navy Trans. 11-25-41 (2) 25231
From: Panama (Akiyama) To: Tokyo November 12, 1941 J-19 #282
1. On the night of the 11th, a British light cruiser went through the Canal in the direction of the Atlantic. This cruiser is understood to have undergone repair in San Francisco and seems to have been the Liverpool.
2. On the 12th, a British military transport of approximately 27,000 tons, of the Union Castle class, passed through the Canal on its way from the Pacific, filled to capacity with military personnel.
3. Early in November, 12 Douglass two-motored bombers and six Airacobra pursuit planes, flew here to increase the Canal air force.
ARMY 25636 Trans. 12/3/41 (2)
From: Panama (Akiyama) To: Tokyo 13 November 1941 (J 19) #285
Panama shipping report:
(1) A commercial ship of Union Castle type passed through toward the Atlantic, with about 1000 of what seemed like evacuees (women and children) and a few wounded, aboard, on the 13th.
(2) The heavy cruiser which passed through on the 11th is believed to be passing through to make up a convoy on the Atlantic, and looks as though it had accompanied #1 (Union Castle type commercial ship) from the Pacific. The German reports say it is a Liverpool class cruiser, but not the Liverpool.
(3) The Omaha type ship has the bow painted black and the stern painted white and at a glance looks like a destroyer.
25234 JD-1: 6751 (Y) Navy Trans. 11-24-41 (J)
From: Panama (Akiyama) To: Tokyo November 18, 1941 J-19 #300
1. On the 18th, one British ship and one Netherlands vessel of approximately 17,000 tons went through the Canal in the direction of the Pacific. One 10,000 ton British vessel and one American ship went through the Canal in the direction of the Atlantic.
2. One destroyer and one submarine are undergoing repairs in Cristobal.
ARMY 25774 Trans. 12/5/41 (2)
From: Panama (Akiyama) To: Tokyo November 20, 1941 J-19 #310
1. On the 19th and 20th, four American cargo ships, one British cargo ship and one tanker, and one French - - - - -, passed across to the Pacific.
2. An American cargo ship and one tanker passed across to the
3. (- - - - - message goes off - - - - -.)
ARMY 26092 (Japanese) Trans. 12/10/41 (2)
From: Panama (Akiyama) To: Tokyo November 22, 1941 J-19 #321 (Part 1 of 4)
I suppose you are already acquainted with these facts but the manner of defending the canal is now as follows:
1. The United States is publishing as though it were utterly true that a Troy horse has been found not only among the foreigners in Panama but also in government circles. However, this country replies that her principle is Panama for Panamanians. ARIAS stated that though Panama was weak, if certain concessions were made to neighboring countries, the United States might be defied. The United States, however, fixed his regime good and proper. At present the canal officials are checking over, one by one, 2,000 Germans, 700 Italians, and 400 Japanese.
2. I hear that the United States has set up in Panama air bases (some of which have - - - - -), anti-aircraft gun bases, and airplane detector bases (some of these detectors are said to be able to discover a plane 200 miles away). Thus we see that in her policy toward South America the United States is now exerting unprecidented pressure.
ARMY 26820 (Japanese) Trans. 12/25/41 (X)
From: Panama (Akiyama) To: Tokyo November 22, 1941 J-19 #321 (Part 2 of 4 [a])
In spite of the fact that it is in violation of the treaty concluded in 1936, the United States is coercing Panama where the canal is. She is expending vast sums of money there, and if necessary will take still more drastic steps. However the difference in the points of view is forever and eternally a cancer's growth in the relations of the two countries.
3. From the Pacific to the Atlantic coast, between Panama and Colon, there is no thoroughfare. The reason why one has not been constructed, is that the jungle constitutes a natural defense for the canal. As an indication of the United States' policy of defense, lately they have begun to construct a road even of macadam which will probably go as far as Colon. However it is not yet completed. This is an exceptional case in preparation for the possible destruction of
the canal. It also seems that when complete the American continental highway will extend as far as the borders of Colombia, but when this will be is uncertain.
ARMY 26821 (Japanese) Trans. 12/25/41 (X) [a] Part 3, S.I.S. #26794. Part 1, S.I.S. #26820. Part 4 available, being translated.
From: Panama (Akiyama) To: Tokyo November 22, 1941 J19-K9 #321 (Part 3 Of 4 [a])
4. The United States Government is going on the assumption that the attack on the Canal will be made from both air and sea. Especially in preparation for a possible attack from the Pacific side, it has reenforced the special fleet recently, as I have already indicated in my telegram. They have mapped out an area 900 (kilometers?), with the center of the radius at Panama, as a patrol area and are constantly patroling it. The Army has built fortifications here and there in the territory of Panama in which there are 16" and 14" gun emplacements. (These forts are equipped with hygienic facilities. The soldiers are indulging in pleasures. The distance - - - - - of the fortifications if - - - - - - - - - - exceeds 1500 (kilometers?).) In addition, they are endeavoring to guard such vital points as locks, spillways, and especially the control tower controlling the spillway on Lake Gatun and the electric plant.
ARMY 26794 (Japanese) Trans. 12/25/41 (2) [a] Parts 1, 2 and 4 available. Being translated.
From: Panama (Akiyama) To: Tokyo November 22, 1941. J-19 #321 (Part 4 Of 4 [a])
The anti-air defenses (?) on lock #1, which is now being used, are being improved. (Of course, there are anti-air defenses (?) at lock #3.) The naval defense area, patrolled against possible lightning attacks, extends in the north from Salina Cruz on the Tehuantepec Isthmus to Monepene [b] (on ?) the Gulf of Fonseca. The southern limits extend to the air base on the Galapagos Islands.
5. Present army strength is 47,000; naval, 10,000; air force, 5,000 In addition, it is estimated that there is approximately twice this general total, made up of the families and laborers (excluding Panamanians).
Army 26830 (Japanese) Trans. 12-25-41 (X) [a] For Parts 1, 2 and 3 of 4 see S.I.S. #26820, #26821 and #26794 which report American military and naval preparations in the Panama region. [b] Kana spelling.
From: Washington To: Panama 1 December 1941 (J 19) #040
Report passage through the Canal of the U. S. S. MISSISSIPPI, NORTH CAROLINA, WASHINGTON, WASP.
JD-1: 7318 26084 (G) Navy Trans. 12-10-41 (X)Return to index.